26 Apr 2010

Solomons PM backs off claim ministers were bought off

2:11 pm on 26 April 2010

The Solomon Islands Prime Minister appears to be backing down from suggestions MPs were paid not to support a bill that sought to strengthen political parties.

Last week, Derek Sikua sacked five of his ministers and stripped some backbenchers of chairmanships of state-owned enterprises, after accusing them of conspiring to defeat the bill.

In Parliament, Dr Sikua said several MPs had been bought off to stay away from the vote on the political party bill.

But Solomon Islands Television reports the Prime Minister now admits he has no evidence of this.

Dr Sikua says he felt money was involved because meetings had taken place in expensive hotels.

"I just questioned how much money did they get to stay out from the vote. I'm not saying that they have received money, it's just a question I asked. Because it's that kind of behaviour, people going to have dinners at hotels."

The Prime Minister says Solomon Islands will not move forward quickly if this political culture continues.